War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0583 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

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The report of Mr. Ould, our commissioner of exchange, which accompanies this, will fully explain the present position of this interesting subject. *

* * * * *

Respectfully submitted.

JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,

Shreveport, La., November 26, 1863.

Major SZYMANSKI:

MAJOR: I am directed by the lieutenant-general commanding to state that you will find inclosed a letter to Major-General McPherson, commanding the Federal forces at Vicksburg, to which you attention is called. This letter is written in order to facilitate an understanding between yourself and the Federal authorities on the subject of an exchange of prisoners. Should the inclosed proposition be acceded to you have full authority to act in the matter, and in that view, before leaving you had better consult fully with Major-General Taylor. As it appears from newspapers that the cartel is no longer operative, you can use your own judgment as to whether it would be best to take the prisoners with you or to make your visit and see what arrangements can be made on the subject, and if necessary take them afterward. The prisoners from the Harriet Lane have been sent to Monroe, and as they have been already exchanged will be sent forward to Vicksburg. A receipt for them as exchanged should be obtained.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. S. WEST,

Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,

Shreveport, La., November 26, 1863.

Major General JAMES B. McPHERSON,

Commanding Federal Forces in District of Mississippi:

GENERAL: The cartel being no longer operative between the two Governments, the subject of the exchange of prisoners is left to be determined in each instance by agreement between the two commanders of the respective armies opposed to each other.

I have now about 2,000 prisoners, and propose to exchange them with you for a like number, man for man, at such point or points as may be agreed upon. A prisoner of war is necessarily subject to hardships, inconveniences, and restraints. Humanity directs that these evils should be lessened as much as possible and that the time of their restraint should not be unnecessarily prolonged. For these reasons I make the above proposition to you. Should you accede to it, Major Szymanski, who bears this, is fully authorized to make the necessary arrangements. Should you not feel yourself empowered to make the agreement, you are requested to forward it for final action to the proper authorities.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. KIRBY SMITH,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding Trans- Mississippi Department.

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*Probably that of December 5, p. 654.

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